Air quality remains a key concern in Serbia as the entire population lives in areas where levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) annual guideline value of 5 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3). The country’s annual average PM2.5 exposure in 2019 stood at 25.4 μg/m3, following a 26% drop from 2010 levels.
Furthermore, air pollution was the 7th leading cause of death in Serbia, resulting in 12,700 deaths across the country.
Key sources of PM2.5 in Serbia include energy production, residential combustion, agriculture, windblown dust, anthropogenic dust, and industry. Use of fossil fuels — including coal, liquid fuel, and natural gas — contribute to both air pollution and climate change and is responsible for 36% of the deaths related to outdoor PM2.5. Actions to reduce these emissions are likely to have substantial health benefits.
Data in this report come from the Global Burden of Disease study 2019, from over 40 studies and risk assessments of air pollution and health in the country, and from a recent HEI-funded global assessment (McDuffie et al. 2021) that examines major air pollution sources and their associated health impacts.
This report is the third in the series on Southeastern Europe, including a report on the region and another one focused on Bulgaria.
Earlier this year, HEI also released an interactive literature database containing relevant research articles on air pollution and health as well as reports and policy briefs from across the region, including many studies from Serbia.